GrindTV Newswire: Killington, Vt. - January 22, 2011 - Louie Vito, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, won his second straight snowboard superpipe Winter Dew Tour final, further securing his lead in overall rankings heading into the final stop of the 2010-11 season and putting him as one of the leading contenders for Toyota Athlete of the Year. On the women's side, Vermont's own Kelly Clark of West Dover secured her first snowboard superpipe win of the 2010-11 season in her hometown state. The best snowboarders in the world battled it out on Killington Resort's brand-new 22-foot superpipe, which debuted at the Winter Dew Tour event.
Vito, age 22, was at the top of the leader board heading into his second run, but that didn't stop him from going all out. After throwing out tricks that included back to back double corks, a frontside 10 and a frontside tailgrab, Vito earned the top score of 93.00 on his victory lap. Breckenridge, Colorado's JJ Thomas, 29, placed second with an 88.00 and 23-year-old Mason Aguirre of Duluth, Minn. finished third with an 86.50.
"I feel great about landing a solid run out here. The pipe was good and everyone rode really well overall," said Vito. "I feel good heading into Snowbasin next month, and hopefully I can just stay on my feet."
Clark, 27, earned the highest women's snowboard superpipe score in Winter Dew Tour history with a 95.75. Showing huge amplitude throughout, Clark's run included a front 9, back 5, front 7, cab 7 and front 5. Following behind in second place was Aspen, Colorado's Gretchen Bleiler, 27, who earned a score of 92.25. Span's Queralt Castellet, 21, rounded out the podium in third with an 86.00. Castellet's finish is still enough to keep her in the lead in overall Winter Dew Tour rankings heading into the Championship event.
"It was a great event today, and I'm glad to be back home in Vermont and to do so well," said Clark. "I was really happy with my riding and to get the highest score in women's halfpipe in Winter Dew Tour history is amazing."
The four-day competition is the second of three stops on the 2010-11 Winter Dew Tour featuring men and women's snowboarding and freeskiing disciplines. The Winter Dew Tour will continue tonight with the men's freeski superpipe final under the lights and conclude tomorrow with the snowboard and freeski slopestyle finals.
Winter Dew Tour at Killington
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Killington, Vt. - Killington Resort
Men's Snowboard Superpipe - Finals
1. Louie Vito, Bellefontaine, Ohio, 93.00. 2. JJ Thomas, Breckenridge, Colo., 88.00., 3. Mason Aguirre, Duluth, Minn., 86.50. 4. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo., 83.50. 5. Spencer Shaw, Stratton, Vt., 83.00. 6. Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 82.00. 7. Ben Watts, Bend, Ore., 75.25. 8. Trevor Jacob, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 71.50. 9. Zach Black, Breckenridge, Colo., 58.00. 10. Jack Mitrani, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 55.50. 11. Brennen Swanson, Stillwater, Minn., 26.00. 12, Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., DNS.
Men's Snowboard Superpipe - Tour Rankings
1. Louie Vito, 200. 2. JJ Thomas, 174. 3. Matt Ladley, 166. 4. Mason Aguirre, 166. 5. Steve Fisher, 152. 6. Trevor Jacob, 140. 7. Greg Bretz, 136. 8. Spencer Shaw, 123. 9. Luke Mitrani, 107. 10. Jake Mitrani, 99.
Women's Snowboard Superpipe - Finals
1. Kelly Clark, West Dover, Vt., 95.75. 2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 92.25. 3. Queralt Castellet, Spain, 86.00. 4. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 81.50. 5. Soko Yamaoka, Japan, 80.25., 6. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, Calif., 46.25.
The 15th edition of the Winter X Games is right around the corner. The highly anticipated contest is set to take over Aspen and Buttermilk Mountain again this year from January 27-30.
This contest is slated to be the heaviest of the season as international riders and local Olympians are all gearing up for their chance at X Games gold. Recently, it was announced via Twitter that Shaun White has confirmed his attendance and will be riding in both the pipe and slope contests. Many assumed White would take this year off considering he hasn't ridden competitively since his historic run in Vancouver, but who can resist the the X Games? Apparently, not even Shaun White. The ten-time gold medal winner joins a rider list stacked with hungry competitors eager for the chance to take down White. Will SW come away victorious despite his lack of training this year?
Gretchen Bleiler, who previously announced she'd be taking a breather from contests this season, has also confirmed she will be competing in the pipe.
Looks like the allure of gold and glamour that Aspen and the X Games bring is the perfect reason for those who've opted out, to opt back in.
It's going to be an action-packed extreme event that you won't want to miss. Check out the official comp schedule to see when the battles take place.
In Gretchen Bleiler's first entry on ESPNW (ESPN's new website geared solely towards women) she drops the bomb that she will be eliminating the majority of halfpipe competitions from her 2010-11 season. The halfpipe golden girl will be directing her efforts elsewhere and is "choosing creativity over competition." See what Gretchen had to say about her changed outlook and direction in snowboarding in her own words:
Words by Gretchen Bleiler - ESPNW.com
This season will be my 10th as a professional snowboarder. ... Wow, has it really been that long?! The decade has flown by, yet at the same time, so much has happened -- from the frustrating experience of learning how to compete; to breaking through that barrier and figuring it out; to achieving success and managing everything that accompanies it; to injury, comebacks, setbacks, victories and disappointments; to the highs and the lows, and learning how to live in the in-between. Snowboarding has really shaped the person I've become, and I consider every moment a good one because every one has led me to where I am now.
Change can be uncomfortable and scary. But I believe change exists to teach us to appreciate and enjoy the right now. Life is short, and if we enjoy every moment of every day, then we will be happy no matter what happens or what changes along the way. And let's face it, we would all be so bored if things always stayed the same; we would never learn, we would never grow.
And that's where I am right now: a time of change. For most of my career, my goals have been based around snowboarding results. I'm a competitor, and since I was 2 years old, I have always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing. This mindset (plus a whole lot of determination) has helped me accomplish almost every single one of my athletic goals up to this point (there is one result that I have not yet attained ... but that's another blog altogether!). And I've found that as you grow, your goals and motivation to achieve those goals need to grow with you. The 20-year-old Gretchen definitely had an "I've got something to prove" mentality that fueled her fire. The 29-year-old Gretchen is equally as competitive, but she doesn't derive her sense of self-worth from her results on the halfpipe. After 10 years, I'm very happy to say that I know who I am now ... woo hoo! And I think what I've come up with is that it's time for a mental shift.
Along the way, I've gotten into a bit of a competitive rut, and it's because I've figured out what it takes to win. I know what run I must throw to stand on top of that podium. Being the competitor that I am, why would I stray from a winning formula? Why would I mix it up if there's a possibility that it could mean making a mistake? This mentality is called perfection, and perfection can kill whatever creativity is inside of you. It's time for me to stop seeking perfection and bring back the creativity instead. This is the change I'm looking for. This is the new motivation that will fuel my fire.
Perfection is a powerful beast. So I must make some changes (that is, take some scary steps) to quiet the beast down! I've always said that the scariest steps bring about the greatest reward because they mean you're stretching your comfort zone and creating a higher existence for yourself. This is something I learned when I was a senior in high school and, in a change of (life) plans, decided to forgo college in favor of trying to become a professional snowboarder. I feel like I'm in a similar redirecting-for-the-better position now. So I've decided to eliminate most of the halfpipe competitions from my schedule this season.
Just as the decision I made in high school wasn't easy, this one isn't, either. Competing in the halfpipe is what I know and love, and what I've been great at for the past 10 years, which is exactly why it's time to forge into this new territory. It's time to learn and time to grow. Seeing snowboarding differently, seeing the mountain differently, and riding with creativity and style -- that's my new goal. And the steps I'll take to get there will be riding more than ever, pushing myself more than ever and learning more than ever. It kind of looks like it's time to bring it back to the way it all began for me, and I'm really excited. I'm a little uncomfortable, and a little scared, but that just means I'm on the right path ... a path that might just lead me to that one last elusive achievement, too.
GrindTV Newswire, Via US Snowboarding: COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Nov. 30) - On the eve of the season opening Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix, U.S. Snowboarding's 2011 halfpipe teams were announced Tuesday alongside the cavernous 22-foot halfpipe at Copper Mountain. Highlighting the 17 riders named to the Pro and Rookie Team rosters are five Olympians including two-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT) Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) and two-time Grand Prix champion Louie Vito (Sandy, UT).
The team was in Copper tuning up for the Saturday, Dec. 10 Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix, the opening event of the three-stop tour.
"With five Olympians returning to the Pro Team and the amazing talent on the Rookie Team, the 2011 U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe program is better than ever." said U.S. Snowboarding Director Jeremy Forster. "We're looking forward to carrying the momentum from the 2010 Olympics into this season."
Returning to the eight rider Pro Team are two Olympic medalists, Clark and Bleiler, plus three fellow Olympians. Among those riders are Vito, World Cup winner Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA), 2010 Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix runner-up Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) and Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID), who came on strong at the end of the 2010 season earning Pro Team status.
"I'm really stoked to be on the Team," said Vito. "We have a good squad of people on the Team and it's not just about the Olympic year, it's every year."
Vito should know. The Ohio native already owns a pair of season-long Grand Prix crowns and helped lead the charge among riders pioneering the double corks during the Olympic season. Vito's charismatic personality pervades the sport and was showcased a year ago when he was a standout on ABC's Dancing with the Stars dancing with Chelsea Hightower.
While Clark and Bleiler were in the spotlight once again last year, the rookie Farrington was making her own waves with a post-Olympic gold in the Euro-X Games, the Dew Tour title and second in the U.S. Open.
Hoping to join former Rookie Team riders, Vito and Farrington, on the Pro Team in the near future are nine riders from the ages 16-20. Like the Pro Team, the Rookie crew consists of many returning riders including Matt Ladley (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Zack Black (Breckenridge, CO) and newcomer Paul Brichta (Burnsville, MN).
The Rookie Team, first deployed for the 2008 season has been an amazing proving ground for young talent.
Although 2011 isn't an Olympic year, the stakes are still high for these riders as they begin to progress the next wave of tricks that will be launched in 2014 in Sochi. The 2010 season was all about the double cork, make sure to stay tuned to see what will be the tricks of 2011.
The teams will ride a diverse slate of events, foremost among them the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix with halfpipe stops in Copper Mountain and Mammoth Mountain. Other majors on tap include the Dew Tour, X Games and U.S. Open. The Rookie Team will also mix in some World Cups and Revolution Tour stops.
2011 U.S. Snowboard Halfpipe Roster
(Name, Hometown, Date of Birth)
* Denotes Olympian
Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 8/7/1987
Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, CO, 4/10/1981*
Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 12/19/1990*
Kelly Clark, Mount Snow, VT, 7/26/1983*
Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 12/18/1989
Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, CA, 8/17/1989*
Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 9/2/1991
Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 3/20/1988*
Lizzy Beerman, Weston, VT, 7/18/1991 **
Dylan Bidez, Minturn, CO, 9/11/1990
Zack Black, Breckenridge, CO, 8/1/1990
Paul Brichta, Burnsville, MN, 8/24/1991 **
Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, CO, 5/17/1991
Kelly Marren, Hillsborough, CA, 8/22/1991
Madeline Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 4/24/1994
Broc Waring, Edwards, CO, 6/3/1992
Ben Watts, Bend, OR, 9/6/1993
** Attending Westminster College in Salt Lake City as a part of U.S. Snowboarding's partnership program.
Sometimes girls just want to have fun. And shred. Such is the case for Olympian and shred all-star Gretchen Bleiler. This summer our favorite pipe princess hit up Woodward at Copper, and in between shredding the summer slush, she filmed a music video. Check out the rider getting radical with campers and crew in this awesome rendition of Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
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